Kane County Audubon to honor long-serving president
The Kane County Audubon, an organization dedicated to preserving the county's birds and the habitats they rely on, is honoring longtime president Bob Andrini and his wife, Kathy, with a bench and a hiking trail at Hickory Knolls Natural Area in St. Charles. The bench and trail will be dedicated at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9.
A longtime resident of St. Charles, Bob Andrini led the county's oldest conservation organization for 23 years, from 1996 to 2019. During that time, membership grew from a dozen people to nearly 300. Today, it is among the largest of the Illinois Audubon Society's 17 affiliate chapters.
"When we first started coming to KCA meetings, there were at most 12 people," Bob recalls. "At my second or third meeting, the current president said he was quitting and if no one stepped up, the club would fold. Well, I had just got there, and I didn't want that to happen! So, I started as president at the next meeting.
"In those days, there were no meetings during the summer, and winter field trips were few. Kathy started bringing treats to meetings, and gradually others helped out," he continues. "As time went on, more and more people became involved, and a friendly atmosphere permeated our activities."
Bob is a former biology teacher at Addison Trail High School, where he taught for 33 years. Kathy taught preschool for 20 years. They share a love of educating others about birding and nature and continue to teach classes, give presentations and lead birding trips for Kane County Audubon.
"Kane County Audubon -- and, honestly, anyone in the county who loves birds and nature -- owe a lot to Bob and Kathy Andrini," says current president John Sprovieri, who joined the group with his wife, Regina McNulty, in 2008. "They may be retired, but they have never stopped teaching or sharing their passion for birds and nature. So many people have come to the club and discovered a fun, new hobby thanks to their welcoming presence."
The Andrini Trail starts just south and west of the community garden plots and takes hikers through grassland, wetland and forest habitats. A sign at one end of the trail reads:
"In honor of Bob & Kathy Andrini, active volunteers dedicated to educating others about the natural environment and sharing their passion for birding. 'If you listen to birds, every day will have a song in it.' -- Kyo Maclear."
The bench is located on the trail, at the top of a rise, with a view of "Indigo Prairie" and "Carol's Wetland." A plaque at the base of the bench reads: "For Bob Andrini: In appreciation of more than 20 years as a leader, teacher mentor and friend to Kane County Audubon."
The dedication will begin at the Hickory Knolls pavilion, which is located behind the Discovery Center, across from the garden plots. Under current Illinois regulations, the number of participants is limited, masks are required, and attendees must practice social distancing. Advance registration is required. To register, visit www.signupgenius.com/go/9040448a4a82ca6f85-kca
Questions? Contact John Sprovieri at (630) 776-0924.
Kane County Audubon is the local chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society. In-person meetings have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but consult KCA's website or Facebook page for information about upcoming online presentations and guided bird walks.
Enjoy nature? Want to learn more about the birds you see in your backyard and elsewhere? Contact Kane County Audubon by calling John Sprovieri at (630) 776-0924 or visit www.kanecountyaudubon.org.
For information on Illinois Audubon Society, call IAS at 217-544-BIRD (2473) or visit the website at www.illinoisaudubon.org